New partnership aims to minimise cost for small truck fleets while comprehensively protecting the asset base
While many economic indicators in South Africa are down, increase in demand for transport and logistics services is growing, says Sharon Paterson, CEO of short-term insurance company, Infiniti. She attributes the increase in sales to a growth in local hub deliveries caused by an upswing in popularity of online shopping.
However, she says the transport sector is facing escalating costs – a barrier to successful bottom-line results. “In difficult market conditions the local industry, especially the small to mid-sized fleets which are predominantly owner-operated enterprises, are forced to magnify their focus on scrutinising every aspect of their operations,” she says.
Since insurance is one of the components of transportation costs and an essential risk mitigation factor for any trucking business, she advises a proactive and structured approach – with expert attention to detail – to minimise the price of cover while comprehensively protecting the asset base.
According to Paterson, through its partnership with Heavy Commercial Vehicle Underwriting Managers (HCV), Infiniti has refined its tried and tested approach of deploying high technical expertise in the sector, leveraging off each of the companies’ strengths to create value and stability for clients.
Vanessa Correira, of HCV, says the company caters for small to medium transporters who have one or two vehicles which they often drive themselves. “We live our pay-off line – caring for trucks and truckers – and we go beyond normal insurance parameters,” she says. “Infiniti is an ideal partner for HCV. Both companies are client centric and focused on service delivery.”
According to Correira, HCV’s policy holders are typically private, small-scale subcontractors who are vulnerable to industry and route disturbances and can least afford downtime on their vehicles. “Their trust and long-term loyalty to HCV stems from having their needs consistently understood and met,” she says.
Correira says the company treats every claim as unique. “We believe in sharing in the journey with our clients. This means clients are able to talk to someone who knows and understands their situation and who offers a personal touch. A dedicated claims person deals with the complete process.”
She says similar methodology is evident in the way the company underwrites its contracts. “Generally, insurers will look just at the vehicle as the insured asset. We take a very different approach. We view the business holistically. Just as we are partnering with Infiniti, we partner with our transporters.
“We encourage our brokers to take us along to see their clients; to have a look at the business; to understand the operation and its specific needs. This approach gives us a deep insight into the business and the risk. Our approach is tailored to ensure that the client is covered adequately. We engage in close consultation with the insured and agree on value,” she says.
Correira adds that, in the event of accident damage to a truck, HCV eschews a list of approved panel beaters from which a client is obliged to choose. “Owner-operators know their vehicles,” she says. “They have trusted repairers who they prefer, often in specific geographical areas, and being able to use their repairer makes a huge difference in their lives.
“Our underwriting process is thorough, we work to fully understand the nature of the client’s commercial vehicle business and the parameters of the operation to position a fair premium and optimal cover, sensitive to the risks.
“Based on our vast experience, we look proactively at providing cover on aspects that may be overlooked by a prospective client; costs to be incurred for the removal of wreckage, for instance, or the replacement of keys, remote controls and legal liability insurance in the event of damage to third party property as the result of a vehicle accident.”